Helping the New Administration Get Off to a Fast Start


Helping the New Administration Get Off to a Fast Start

Monday, July 18th, 2016 - 9:01
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We are in the midst of an unprecedented period in American history. For the first time since the founding of our nation, we are now about to experience the third consecutive transition to a new president after an eight-year term in office.

The transitions from President Bill Clinton to President George W. Bush, then from President Bush to President Barack Obama, both took place after elections in which it was certain that the leader of our government would change. Each of those transitions had the characteristics of a start-up, starting small and scaling quickly. The leaders of these transitions relied on experience of those who had been through similar experiences to help guide their choices.

Since the 2008 transition (on which I worked as a group leader for government technology, innovation, and reform), two important statutes have passed that provide resources for transition teams to begin the hard and complex work of helping a new administration to hit the ground running on January 20, 2017. These laws provide space, resources, and other support to teams from each major party following their respective conventions in July. The additional time and resources facilitates a higher degree planning, especially when compared to the prior official period from November to January. In addition, President Obama issued an executive order that highlights the importance of career officials in the transition and sets up a formal transition structure that will promote planning and readiness while allowing for better communication between career leaders in agencies to the two teams prior to the election.

The IBM Center for The Business of Government is joining a number of other major organizations and associations focused on government improvement in providing content, lessons learned, and recommendations based on transitions past. The forum in this issue of The Business of Government magazine discusses our work on a Management Roadmap that a new administration can adapt to plan for and execute its policy and goals effectively and efficiently. We are developing this Roadmap in collaboration with the Partnership for Public Service and its new Center for Presidential Transition’s Ready to Govern initiative. The IBM Center is also revising Getting It Done, our widely read book that has served as a resource for training incoming political appointees about how to succeed in their new roles as leaders of departments, agencies, and bureaus across the government.

Our work on the Roadmap complements transition activities being led by numerous other partners, including:

  • The National Academy of Public Administration’s Transition 2016, in partnership with the American Society for Public Administration
  • The Brookings Institution’s Transition 2016 Project
  • The White House Transition Project
  • The Miller Center at the University of Virginia’s First Year 2017 initiative
  • The Professional Services Council’s Tech 45 Working Group initiative
  • The American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council’s 2016 Presidential Transition Project
  • The Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress’s Project Solarium 2017
  • The Performance Institute-led coalition’s Transitions in Governance 2016

As with the Management Roadmap, each of these initiatives is led by or draws from expertise across the political spectrum, to bring great insights and lessons learned that a new president can leverage to help get off to a fast start on behalf of the American people. The IBM Center for The Business of Government is pleased to join with this community of leaders in helping match the unique circumstances of a third consecutive eight-year term by making the 2016-17 presidential transition the most successful in our history.

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